The following is an off duty interview with Kwanghi Chan new food director of one of Dublin’s honest new venues, Soder&Ko. Our off duty interviews are conducted by Edel Bryne Finalist of Masterchef and Catering Director of KC Peaches. Normally an informal chat over a glass of wine, which means you get to find out what really drives Chefs to do what they do…
Going out on your own, what are the lessons learned from years in the Cliff House ?
Give your customers a quality product and source the best ingredients possible from suppliers & be creative with flavours and never think twice about saying it’s not good enough to serve a dish your customers.
What else would you do if you weren’t a chef ?
Maybe an artist or something that involves creativity.
Who are your major influencers (e.g. other chefs) ?
My major Influencers would be Chefs I have worked under in the past, Derry Clarke, Ross Lewis, Aidan Byrne and mostly recently Martjin Kajuiter.
What is the Best/favourite dish you’ve ever cooked ?
I don’t have a personal favourite, just quality of ingredients, cooked simply.
Best/favourite dish you’ve ever had ?
A meal created by the super talented 3 star chef David Munoz, my best meal ever yet.
Your Favourite ingredient ?
Don’t have a favourite, just quality and freshness ever ingredient have its own place, and use for a dish.
Favourite restaurant for ambience/décor/fit-out ?
I have a few, but the main one would be Diner by Heston in London.
How seriously do you take food trends ?
Not very seriously. Just cook for your customers and from your heart.
Opinion on Food Bloggers & their influence ?
I enjoy reading, about people’s dining experience, but I do like to try it myself to make my own judgment.
Ireland’s hidden gems/best kept secrets ?
I may seem biased but Donegal for me is an untouched gem with top quality produce from it’s land & sea and what a beautiful part of Ireland.
If this was your last day in the kitchen what would you put on the menu ?
Hmmmm, probably something that involved great Irish grass feed beef cooked perfectly to 61c for 20mins with a silky bernaise sauce.
Food guilty pleasure ?
Japanese Instant noodles and ready salted walker crisps.
Absolute no-no’s for your kitchen ?
Untidiness and not being organised for service.
Food heaven & hell ?
Eating at street food stalls in Hong Kong and hell is over cooked meats.
What chef would you most like to work with ?
Andre Chiang & David Munoz.
Who are your fantasy dinner guest(s) ?
The Dalai Lama
Tips for someone starting out in the food industry ?
Be Respectful and work very very hard and never stop! Keep pushing.
Tips for an ambitious home cook ?
Stick to recipes. Plan your time wisely & preparation is key.
Secret to your success ?
A supportive family and determination.
Proudest moment ?
The moment my beautiful daughter Lily was born.
In Soder & ko – what is your food philosophy / style ?
Casual eating, clean & simple modern techniques with lots of flavour from the East.
How has food in Dublin changed / Changes you’ve seen after years cooking outside the capital ?
More people are interested in food as it’s all around us and it’s heavily involved in our social calendar in Modern Ireland. It’s more competitive and there is more talent in Dublin than ever before. Very interesting time to be cooking in Dublin at the moment and I love it!
Off Duty Interviewer
Masterchef Ireland 2014 finalist Edel Byrne is a coffee lover and foodie with 15 years’ industry experience who brings her passion for food to her current role as head of corporate catering at wholefood specialist KC Peaches. Edel’s Masterchef highlights include cooking in two of the world’s top 100 restaurants and winning high praise from the judges (and from fans of the show who still stop her on the street) for her uovo in raviolo pasta dish.